While most parents treasure the appearance of a child's first tooth, at Utah's Hogle Zoo we treasure a more rare moment above a molar breaking through the gum - the appearance of an elephant's first tusk. Just this week, Zuri's tusk on her left side appeared, marking yet another landmark in her growth.
"We're really happy to see her first tusk come through," Elephant Manager Doug Tomkinson said. "It's yet another step in her progress as a young, growing elephant. It will be really exciting when everyone is able to see it."
Much like our human teeth, tusks are more than a decoration, they are a functional tool. When her tusks are grown, Zuri will be able to dig, as well as better move and manipulate a variety of the objects in her yard.
As of now, the tusk is the size of a pencil, but this is just the start. The length, size and growth rate of Zuri's tusks are hereditary, but if Tomkinson had to make a guess, chances are you'll get to see them some time this summer.
But, for now, we're just watching it grow and waiting for the other one to appear as well. In the meantime, we're happy to report that Zuri surpassed the 1,300 pound mark and stands at 4 feet 8 inches tall.